Adapted by Michael Gene Sullivan from the novel by George Orwell

Directed by Shawn Paonessa

Apr. 27 – May 20, 2018

Preview Performances: Apr. 25 – 26 | Tickets: $18

Special Matinee – 10:30am, Tue., May 8. All seats $11.50

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Thank You

1984 is made possible in part by a gift from Hal Freedman and Willi Rudowsky.

Theatre Tampa Bay Award

Theatre Tampa Bay Nominated

What It’s About

1984 warns us with the story of Winston Smith, a small cog in the giant machine-state of Oceania. Physically and mentally under the omnipresent eye of Big Brother, Winston has been caught struggling for scraps of love and freedom in a world awash with distrust and violence. With the brutal “help” of four Party Members, Winston is forced to confess his Thoughtcrimes before an unseen Inquisitor and the audience – who act as a silent witness.

This ferocious and provocative adaptation of one of the most prescient works of literature was commissioned in 2008 by the Actor’s Gang under the direction of the Academy Award winning actor, director, screenwriter, and activist Tim Robbins. Jobsite has history here, having previously produced the Actor’s Gang/Tim Robbins play about the onset of the Iraq War, Embedded, in 2008 to high acclaim. With 1984 Jobsite follows up on the success of The Tempest’s matinee field trips for schools, this one specifically for high school audiences.

This adaptation of 1984 should not be confused with the one that ran last year on Broadway by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan.

In addition to the 17 regularly-scheduled mainstage performances we have made 12 weekday matinees available for high school students. Please call 813.222.1047 to learn more about our education outreach opportunities or to book your group of 10 or more!

Run Time

1984 runs approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes including the 15 minute intermission.

Why It’s For You

If you can read this, you’re fortunate enough to not live in an Orwellian society. But it is vital to realize that as Orwellian societies have existed (Hitler’s Germany) and exist today (North Korea), no society was ever borne to become Orwellian. At some point, governments pressed a little here and pushed a little there, asking their populace to trade liberties for securities, until one day, there were no liberties left to secure. The question is, how comfortable are we with our society, where is the difference between patriotism and blind nationalism, and what are we willing to pay for the preservation of our homeland?

Why We Chose It

It’s easy to think this is a political piece, and to an extent it is, but 1984‘s inherent social and human concerns are just as relevant today as they were five or 15 years ago. Maybe you’ve read 1984. Maybe you’ve seen a film adaptation. However, neither of those hold a candle against being 10 feet away from it in a live theater. You will not forget this experience.

About the Playwright

Michael Gene Sullivan is an award winning actor, director, and playwright. Based in San Francisco, Michael’s plays have been produced at theaters throughout the United States, in Greece, England, Germany, Scotland, Spain, Columbia, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, as well as at the Melbourne International Arts Festival (Australia), the International Festival of Verbal Art (Berlin), The Spoleto Festival, (Italy), and the The Hong Kong Arts Festival. For the past 17 years Michael has been Resident Playwright for the Tony and OBIE award-winning (and despite its name never, ever silent) San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he has written or co-written over 20 plays. He is also a Resident Playwright for the Playwrights Foundation, and was awarded a 2017 artist residency at the Djerassi Arts Center. Michael’s non-Mime Troupe plays include the award-winning all-woman political farce Recipe, Red Carol, his critically-acclaimed one person show, Did Anyone Ever Tell You-You Look Like Huey P. Newton?, and his stage adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, which opened at Los Angeles’ Actors’ Gang Theatre under the direction of Academy Award winning actor Tim Robbins. 1984 has since been produced nationally and internationally, is published in the United States, Canada, and Spain, and in 2018 will open in Kiev, Ukraine, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, its fourth and fifth languages.

Giles Davies and Jennifer Casler in Jobsite's 1984. (Photos by Pritchard Photography.)
Giles Davies and Jennifer Casler in Jobsite's 1984. (Photo by Pritchard Photography.)

Art often serves as a mirror to its society, but will we reach a point in the Trump era at which we're suffering from oversaturation and dystopia fatigue? Perhaps, but [1984] remains timely – and terrifying.


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Cast & Crew

  • Shawn Paonessa – Director
  • Matthew Ray – Stage Manager


  • Rob Broadwater – Telescreen Announcer
  • Nicu Brouillette – Party Member 3
  • Jennifer Casler – PartyMember 2
  • Giles Davies – Winston
  • David M. Jenkins – O’Brien
  • Derrick Phillips – Party Member 4
  • Adam Workman – Party Member 1


  • Teah Banks – Rehearsal Stage Manager
  • Giles Davies – Combat Choreographer
  • Samantha Ehrnman – Charge Artist
  • Shawn Paonessa – Sound Designer
  • Derrick Phillips – Combat Choreographer
  • Brian Smallheer – Scenic and Lighting Designer
  • Katrina Stevenson – Costume Designer

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